Skjern Dyrehospital Veterinary Clinic provides information on what to do when your dog has met an adder.
If your dog is unlucky to be bitten by an adder on a tour through the dunes or in the garden, you need to keep him as calm as possible. If possible, you should carry it to the car. This is especially important if his paw has been bitten. By keeping the dog calm and carrying it, you can minimize the risk of the poison spreading further in his body and thus delay the “reaction”.
Call the vet as soon as you realize your dog has been bitten, either because you see the snake or because your dog is swelling. Most adder bites affect the muzzle or paws. If your dog is bitten on the snout, there is a high risk that the swelling will become so severe that the fluid that has accumulated in the tissue spreads to the throat. Even with bee and wasp stings, swelling can occur in this region, so it is important to notify the veterinarian immediately, as bees or wasps often sting in the oral cavity, which can lead to breathing difficulties.
Administration of antihistamine by the veterinarian
When you get to the vet, the vet will search the dog for a recognizable bite that looks like two punctiform wounds about 1.5 to 2 cm apart. Usually the dog’s leg or head will already be swollen. The swelling begins about ½ hour after the bite and peaks 1-2 days later. After that, it usually decreases again.
After an exam, the veterinarian will assess what treatment is needed based on where your dog was bitten, how big he is, and whether his general condition is affected. Typically, an antihistamine is given to prevent an allergic reaction and a pain reliever is also given. In many cases, an adrenal cortex hormone and vitamin K must also be given to help blood clot normally.
Sometimes the dog needs to be hospitalized for observation and hydration. Small dogs in particular often get sicker than big ones; the reason for this is uncertain, but it may be because the amount of poison per pound of body weight is higher than that of large dogs.